With the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly in negotiations with Byron Scott to become their next head coach, fans in Los Angeles can breathe a sigh of relief, if only momentarily. Scott has been the obvious candidate to take over in Los Angeles even before Kobe Bryant expressed his admiration for the former Lakers guard. However, owner Jim Buss and the Lakers organization took their time to offer Scott the head coaching position.
Although the Lakers met with five other qualified head coaches during their search, Scott was always assumed to be the favorite because of his connection with the organization.
The Lakers have been without a head coach since Mike D’Antoni resigned in early May, going through the NBA draft and majority of free agency without a head coach in place. Fans of the Lakers may approve of Scott’s hiring, but the long overdue signing is just another example of why Jeanie Buss has to be more involved in the basketball operations.
Without Jeanie’s personality, expertise and common sense, the Lakers are more of a team that is rebuilding instead of competing for a title. Going into free agency fans of the Lakers were optimistic about signing LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, but instead the Lakers have once again fallen short of acquiring or retaining elite talent besides Bryant.
The Lakers have been active this offseason, but have only managed to sign unproven forward Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer, whose best years are behind him, and trade for turnover-prone point guard Jeremy Lin. The Lakers also re-signed several complementary pieces from last year’s team, but overpaying Jordan Hill might have taken the Lakers out of contention for unrestricted free agent Greg Monroe.
Once again, Jim Buss is fixated on next year’s free agents rather than worrying about the upcoming season, but if Kobe is happy so are Lakers fans.
Scott’s ability to get the best out of his guards and focus on defense is an important improvement for the Lakers, especially with the young back-court of Jordan Clarkson and Lin. Yes, Steve Nash will return next season, but will his body allow him to contribute?
Although Scott’s three year coaching stint in Cleveland was a forgettable one, fans of the Lakers should not forget his somewhat successful tenure as the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. During the 2007-08 season Scott was named the NBA coach of the year and led a young Hornets team to two consecutive playoff appearances.
During the two years in which Scott led the Hornets to the playoffs he won 64 percent of his regular season games and has often been credited for the early development of Chris Paul. Scott did have the young tandem of David West and Paul to rely on in New Orleans, but the rest of the roster consisted of role players.
Despite two undesired departures in New Orleans and Cleveland, Scott should immediately benefit both Clarkson and Lin. With the Lakers’ inexperienced back-court, Scott’s expertise is a much-needed upgrade over D’Antoni.
While there is no doubt in Scott’s ability to be an impactful coach, Lakers fans must remember that Jim Buss remains in charge. As long as big brother’s ego remains in the way, the Lakers will continue to be a franchise looking to rebuild, a position the Lakers haven’t been accustomed to.